Biography of Roy A. Spencer
Roy A. Spencer, president of the Western Printing & Lithographing Company, was born in Mount Pleasant Township, Racine County, November 7, 1881, a son of William D. and Louise (De Groat) Spencer, the former a native of New York, while the latter was born in Mount Pleasant Township, this County, being a representative of one of its old families. Her parents, Albert and Abbie Jane De Groat, arrived in this County from Connecticut about 1831, when civilization had scarcely extended her borders over the district. In fact it seemed that the work of development and improvement had scarcely been begun. The family located on a tract of wild land which they secured from the government and with characteristic energy Mr. De Groat began to break the sod and develop a farm, both he and his wife remaining thereon until called to their final rest. It was amid pioneer surroundings, in a district where Indians were still to be seen and where many hardships and privations were to be endured, that Louise Dc Groat was reared and after reaching womanhood she gave her hand in marriage to William D. Spencer, who came to Racine in 1875. They were married in this County, but subsequently removed to Devils Lake, North Dakota, where the father followed the occupation of farming. In 1898 Mrs. Spencer returned to Racine, where she still makes her home.
Roy A. Spencer is the eldest in a family of three sons and two daughters. The others are: Elma, at home; Grover; Abbie, the wife of Dr. L. M. McClenathan, a resident of Chicago; and Harold, at home. Roy A. Spencer obtained a public school education and started out in the business world in the capacity of printer’s devil on the Journal. He has since been engaged in the printing business. He closely applied himself to the trade, working his way upward and mastering the business in principle and detail. He was a young man of about twenty-seven years when he bought into the Westside Printing Company, becoming the successor of William Bell and the partner of E. H. Wadewitz in the undertaking. In the spring of 1909 they were joined by C. H. Van Vliet. Business was conducted under the name of the Westside Printing Company until 1910, with Mr. Spencer as the president and E. H. Wadewitz as secretary and treasurer. In the latter year the business was reincorporated under the style of the Western Printing & Lithographing Company and from the beginning Mr. Spencer has been the president, with Mr. Van Vliet as vice president and Mr. Wadewitz as secretary, treasurer and general manager. A complete history of the business is given on another page of this work, showing its development under the wise and able direction of its officers from a small undertaking to the largest and most complete printing establishment in the state, having most thoroughly equipped departments in electrotyping, engraving, printing and binding. There is no phase of high class, artistic commercial or literary printing which has not been represented in the output of this establishment, and the importance and volume of the trade has given to Mr. Spencer and his associate officers of the company rank with the leading business men of the city.
In politics Mr. Spencer maintains the attitude of a non-partisan, voting according to the dictates of his judgment and the exigencies of the case. Fraternally he is connected with the Elks, with the Knights of Pythias and with the Royal League. He belongs also to the Commercial Club and is in hearty sympathy with its plans for the upbuilding and development of the city. He has well in hand every phase of his own business and the success which he has achieved enables him to speak with some authority upon matters relative to the improvement and welfare of the city.